GOODY, Ky. – The Mingo County Deputy Sheriff Association hosted the 20th annual Shop With a Deputy on Tuesday, Dec. 22 at the Williamson area Wal-Mart.
Members of the Mingo County Deputy Sheriff Association and volunteers donned Santa and Elf hats to create a festive holiday atmosphere. The event featured a guest appearance from Iron Man.
MCSD secretaries Rhoda Smith and Linette Tiller Morrison, along with family members of the deputies and Walmart employees helped with the event.
Several of the deputies and Sheriff James Smith mingled with the children and their families and assisted some of the kids as they walked the isles to look for their Christmas gifts.
The Shop with a Deputy program provides area children with the opportunity to spend $100 at Wal-Mart. Cpl Norman Mines said that this year, the program benefited 70 local children. Every year, the program benefits 70 to 100 local children.
Funding for this program is donation based. “We appreciate the businesses that donate, and people who give at road blocks. If it wasn’t for them, these kids wouldn’t have a Christmas. All the money donated goes to the children,” Lt. Randy Hatfield explained.
Mines agreed saying, “Community support enables us to do this for the children. We would like to thank people who donated.”
This year’s total donations added up to around $8,000 with some funds left over from last year. There were children from seven Mingo County elementary schools that were selected. School personnel submitted a list of names to the MCSD.
With the economy on the downturn and many miners laid off, this year has been difficult for many local families.
According to Mines, funding for the program was down this year due to the decline in the local economy. “Due to funding in the area, the program had to cut back some this year. We didn’t meet our goal.”
A lack of funding meant that less local children were able to benefit from this program. “In previous years, we have been able to do 15 children per school. This year, we had to cut it down to 10.”
Fundraising efforts for the program continue throughout the year. Mines explained, “We are actively collecting year round. We are already collecting for the next season.”
Donations of any amount can be dropped off at the Sheriff’s Department at the Mingo County Courthouse. Donations may also be mailed to DSA P.O. Box 1270, Williamson, W.Va. 25661. For more information call 304-235-0300.
(Courtney Pigman is a news reporter for the Williamson Daily News. She can be contacted at [email protected], or at 304-235-4242, ext. 2279.)